The Hull, Summers, Dilts Family Tree and Collateral Branches of Decker, Main, Kuhn, Pryor, Reck, Gustin, etc.
Yes, Grandpa Dilts was right. He often asserted that the Diltses were from an old, well-established early American family, that brothers from Germany immigrated before the Revolution, and that Diltses married Gustins, who were of important heritage. Grandpa Addison didn't know the details, but he had a sense that he was linked to the beginnings of American history and to families that helped establish the country.
Addison's wife, my Grandmother Nellie, was not without her family pride, after all both sides of her family came from Maryland--Frederick County, to be specific. She had Mains, Kuhns, and Pryors who went back generations in that part of America, and a younger sister who recorded family events in the old family bible.
In the 1970s, Addison and Nellie's daughter, Katherine, my mother, took up the challenge of discovering more about her family. This was before the world wide web and internet. All the genealogical research had to be done the hard way: on foot, by hand, through mailing and traveling and digging through papers and records. Mother learned that the Diltses did, indeed, immigrate in the early 1700s to the colony of New Jersey, that the Gustins who married the Diltses traced back to American colonists of the 1600s, and that the Fullers who married the Gustins go all the way back to the Mayflower.
This was also about the time that I started dating a high school classmate of mine, Tom Hull. For lack of anything better to do for fun one day and since Mom was still doing this genealogy "thing," we decided to go searching through cemeteries for ancestors. Tom's mother's family were recent immigrants from Ireland--Walshes, Enrights, McCormicks--who had settled Lincoln, Nebraska, so they were too distant geographically. However, his Hulls had been in Madison County, Indiana, where we live, for generations. Armed with names, dates, and county maps, off we went making notes and filling in blanks. Little did we know that we would use those notes thirty years later.
By then genealogical information was abundant and easily accessible on the internet. The research problems that stumped and confounded my mother would turn into puzzles I could solve while still in my pajamas and sitting in an easy chair. With the help of "internet cousins"--who have been so generous with their research--Tom and I have solved mysteries.
This brings me to my father's side--the Summers. Dad's family were just the opposite, genealogically speaking, of my mother's. The only thing that had been handed down to Dad was that his grandfather Summers was from Winchester, Indiana. Dad had no family history, no names of great-grandparents, no places, no original origins. The Summers family was a mystery as were the Recks, the maiden name of his paternal grandmother.
Our Summers family, I discovered, was German. At first this bothered Dad, a veteran of WW II. He remained bothered until I showed him that his namesake John Sommers, was listed as a Revolutionary War patriot by the DAR, as was his other German ancestor, John Adam Reck.
Tom was also able to supply us with some surprises:
1. we have a set of 5th great-grandparents in common--Jeremiah Gustin and Bethany Fuller,
2. all of our ancestors (with the exception of Tom's Irish mother's family) go back to colonial immigrants,
3. his Revolutionary ancestor Francis Hull and my patriot John Sommers lived in the same town, owned land next to each other, served on the same jury, went to the same church, and are buried in the same cemetery.
Tom still has the Perrins and Warrens to figure out, and I have those Lemons and Lanes to deal with. Of course, if I really want a challenge, I could tackle that Stevens branch of the family.
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